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DOJ agrees to review San Diego Police Department practices

SAN DIEGO - The mayor and other city officials are set to formally announce Monday that the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to their request to perform a management practices audit on the Police Department.

The audit is meant to "help restore public trust" in the department following two recent cases of allegations that officers assaulted women while on duty. One officer has been charged, a second is being investigated.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Atty. Jan Goldsmith and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman are set for a news conference at the U.S. attorney's office to discuss the audit, which was first requested by Zimmerman's predecessor, Bill Lansdowne.

A statement issued by Faulconer's office on Sunday said the audit is "the first of many steps to help rebuild the police department and ensure safety in every San Diego neighborhood."

Also set to be at the news conference are Associate Atty. Gen. Tony West, San Diego U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy, and Ron Davis, director of the Department of Justice's community oriented policing services office.

Among other things, officials want suggestions on how to better detect problem officers. The audit will take six months and be funded by the Department of Justice.

Faulconer's statement said the audit will be "a voluntary independent assessment" of the department, which has 1,856 officers.

Lansdowne, 69, chief for more than a decade, retired March 3, the day that Faulconer was sworn in as mayor. Zimmerman was unanimously approved by the City Council as his successor.

In 2011, San Diego officer Anthony Arevalos was convicted of demanding sexual favors from women after making traffic stops. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison. He was fired after the accusations were made.

The City Council has approved a total of $2.3 million in payments to women assaulted by Arevalos. One case has gone to trial.


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